Project Team

joshBio2 Josh Lawler, PI, Project Coordinator

Josh Lawler is an associate professor and Denman Professor of Sustainable Resource Sciences in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. He is also the co-director of the Center for Creative Conservation. He is a landscape ecologist and conservation biologist driven by applied conservation questions and their real-world applications. He is most interested in how anthropogenic factors affect species distributions, population dynamics, and community composition at regional and continental scales. His research involves investigating the effects of climate change on species distributions and populations, exploring the influence of landscape pattern on animal populations and communities, and climate-change adaptation for natural and human systems. Some of his current work has begun to involve the field of conservation psychology—exploring how people make environmental decisions and what psychological benefits people gain from nature.

Sam Veloz, Model Development

Sam Veloz, Ph.D., is Spatial Ecologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Sam is primarily working on projects that explore how species will respond to global change, including climate change and other human modifications to the environment. Using models that test the sensitivity of species to changing environmental conditions, Sam seeks to evaluate what species or places might be most vulnerable to global change. Recent work includes collaborating on the development of a decision support tool to analyze what effects sea level rise and climate change will have on tidal marsh species within the San Francisco Estuary. This online mapping tool allows users to explore how tidal marsh habitat and species will respond to a range of future climate change scenarios and can be used by decision makers to evaluate alternative adaptation strategies. As a member of the Climate Change and Informatics group at Point Blue, Sam’s work is dedicated to the development of tools, frameworks and techniques for transforming the wealth of scientific data compiled by Point Blue and its partners into successful conservation outcomes and ecosystem knowledge.

Leo Salas, Ph.D., Model Development

Leo Salas, Ph.D., is Quantitative Ecologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Leo’s expertise is in quantitative ecology, mammal ecology, and population dynamics. Prior to coming to Point Blue, he conducted research on birds, mammals and tree communities. Leo received his Master of Science in 1995 and PhD in 2001, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His Masters thesis focused on the ecology of tapirs and on a sustainable hunting model. His doctoral work was on the comparative ecology of three arboreal marsupials in New Guinea. After completing his studies, Leo led the Latin American program of The Peregrine Fund, until his wife took him to Indonesian Borneo, where he worked with The Nature Conservancy conducting research on orangutans and surveying remote limestone karst areas. He returned to New Guinea to work with The Wildlife Conservation Society developing a Masters-level curriculum for the University of Papua New Guinea and mentoring honors students.

jkim John Kim, Co-PI


John Kim is an ecological modeller with Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center and with the Pacific Northwest Research Station. He studies climate change impacts on vegetation using dynamic global vegetation models. He has a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California San Diego.

Dennis Jongsomjit, Model Development

Dennis Jongsomjit is a GIS Specialist at Point Blue Conservation Science. Dennis escaped from the jungles of Los Angeles to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis. He came to Point Blue in 2001 as an intern nest searcher at the Palomarin field station. At Palomarin he worked on the creation of a guide to aging altricial nestlings to help better our understanding of factors affecting nest success. He is now a GIS specialist and biologist, focusing his efforts on landscape and climate change factors affecting bird distributions.

Michael Case headshot Michael Case, Project Coordinator

Michael Case, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington. Michael’s research focuses on assessing how climate change will affect species and ecosystems throughout the Pacific Northwest. Michael uses a combination of information – both modeling and expert judgement to assess current and future impacts. For example, Michael is researching new ways of integrating empirical and mechanistic models to better project how species might respond to future climate change. He is also working with federal, state, tribal, and non-profit organizations to implement climate change adaptation strategies aimed at building resistance and resilience of species and systems. Michael’s previous work includes a tree growth and climate-focused Masters degree and working as a research scientist for World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) International Climate Change Pr